- Food and Cooking
Vegetarian Bean Loaf With a Sweet Mustard Glaze
Craving Meatloaf But Don't Eat Beef?
Beans, Oats, Plus Lots of Tasty Seasonings Make for a Satisfying Loaf
There's nothing like a hearty meatloaf, is there? This is a dinnertime favorite along with potatoes and at times, gravy. Many of us grew up with this classic dish, in fact. Vegetarians and vegans or anyone trying to switch to a meatless diet, may find themselves longing for more than vegetables at a meal. With this hearty loaf, they can have their "meat" and eat it too!
A number of challenges arise when attempting to make a meatless loaf: 1) you need a mixture that holds together, 2) you want something that has a meat-like consistency that brings to mind all those delicious meatloaves of your childhood, and 3) the loaf has to be tasty enough to satisfy your palate. This craving for flavor has been the Waterloo for many wannabe vegetarians. After days or weeks of eating mostly vegetables, grains, pasta, and cheese, they find they need more. Humans crave variety in what they eat and enough flavor to keep them satisfied. If we are honest, we have spent years with meat as the main menu item and the vegetables and other stuff added around the meat. So it's a good idea to come up with healthful alternatives to meat to help to round out your meal (as meat did formerly).
To the rescue: beans. Cooked beans can serve as the base to build a loaf that is a close second to meatloaf. We all know that beans help to rid the body of cholesterol, so each time you make this loaf, you can enjoy it without the worry of the health impact of all that meat-based fat on your arteries.
This recipe for vegetarian meatloaf results in a moist, dense loaf with such a meat-like consistency, it could fool die-hard meat lovers. The glaze adds a nice look to the top of the loaf, plus it also adds flavor.
Yellow Eye Beans Form the Base for Bean Loaf
Where to Find Beans
These beans can usually be found in the same section where you find dried green and yellow peas or other soup mixes.
Before you Begin
The night before, soak a bag of yellow eye beans, leaving plenty of water, because they will they expand. The next day, drain beans, rinse well, then refill pot and set to cook.
I like to cook my beans in my crock pot, so I soak them overnight in that. Beans can foam and boil over on the stove but if you use a crock pot, this does a far better job and you never have to worry about foam0over and boil-over.
There's also no risk of beans sticking to the bottom of your pot ad scorching, as can happen when you cook beans on top of the stove and forget them during cooking.
Uncooked Yellow Eye Beans
A crock pot does a great job of cooking beans. No sticking, burning, foaming or boil-over.
I grind my rosemary so that it is soft instead of in those thin stick-like pieces that can catch in your throat. This can be done with a coffee grinder.
Do a taste test and if needed, add more seasonings until your base mixture has lots of flavor.
- Add a dash of HP or Worcestershire sauce
- If you like a smoky flavor, you can also add a dash of barbecue sauce
Vegetarian Bean Loaf Recipe
- 3 cups yellow eye beans, cooked and mashed
- 1 cup plain or seasoned bread crumbs, Seasoned are preferable
- 1 cup oats, ground
- 1 cup whole wheat flour
- 4-8 tbsp. ketchup
- 1 onion, finely minced
- 2-3 stalks celery, finely minced
- 3 cloves garlic, crushed
- 4 tbsp. poultry seasoning
- 4 tbsp. rosemary, ground
- 3 tsp. onion powder
- 1-2 tbsp. parsley, optional
- 4 tbsp olive oil
- salt to taste
- pepper shake
A Word About Flavor
The difference between a ho-hum veggie meatloaf and one that you actually enjoy eating is in the spices you add to your bean, oat, and wheat mixture. Ensuring that your meatloaf is seasoned properly makes all the difference to flavor.
Making Oat Flour
You can make oat flour in seconds by grinding oats in a blender or food processor. Use a spatula to push oats down from sides and onto blades until you have oat flour.
I often make a large batch of oat flour and store it in a glass jar in the pantry to have on hand for use in recipes.
Step # 1
Drain your cooked beans well and a to a large bowl.
Step # 2
Mash beans well, ensuring there are no beans in mixture. This step takes a bit of arm power but you want a creamy mixture.
Step # 3
Add in remaining ingredients and mix with your hands until a ball forms. Keep mixing until the ball holds together and isn't crumbly.
Adding in Other Ingredients
Step # 4
Grease a bread pan. Pack mixture down into pan, pressing down firmly so that when mixture cooks, it holds together and can be sliced later.
Bean Mixture in Pan and Ready for Oven
Vegetarian Meatloaf Tips
- Mash your beans well, so that mixture is smooth and "bean free."
- Because you aren't dealing with raw meat, you can check the flavor, as you go, adjusting seasonings to your preference.
- Soak and cook up beans and freeze them, so that you will have them on hand for making future loaves.
A Close-Up of Meatless Mixture
Sweet Mustard Glaze
If you wish to add a glaze to the top of your loaf, once your mixture is in your loaf pan, simply brush over mustard and molasses (pictured).
Glazed Bean Loaf
Other Glaze Ideas
- mustard and brown sugar
- barbecue sauce
Cooking Vegetarian Bean Loaf
I start my oven out at 350 degrees for about 20 minutes and then reduce the heat to 300 degrees for the last half hour or so of cooking.
Check your loaf. You want it brown, just as regular meatloaf goes brown around the outer edges, but do not allow it to dry out from over-cooking. Plan on around 40-60 minutes for cooking time.
Take loaf from oven and leave in pan.
Slice while still warm.
So Delicious and So Good for You!
• Top slices with Ketchup.
• Make a batch of thick mushroom gravy. The mushroom gravy is quite tasty and will add even more flavor.
What to Do With Left-Over Bean Loaf?
- Slices are delicious when fried
- Place sliced bean loaf in a greased casserole dish, top with barbecue sauce and reheat in oven.
- Place slices in a greased casserole dish, top with mushroom gravy and reheat until bubbling.
Have You Ever Made a Vegetarian Meatloaf?
A Word About Meat Alternatives
Sometimes it takes thinking outside the box to find alternatives to meat--and your "raw material" may be as close as your kitchen pantry. Beans are a good choice, for their fiber, protein, and texture; and as touched on in this article, if care is taken to add lots of seasonings, meatless loaves and patties can be quite flavorful and satisfying.
My Favorite Vegetarian Recipes
- Barbecued Tofu Strips
Delicious barbecued tofu strips will have you convinced you are eating meat. These are easy to make and even easier to eat.
- Absolutely Delicious Red Bean and Almond Burgers
If you savor the flavor, you won't be disappointed with these cholesterol-lowering veggie burgers loaded with flavor and texture.
© 2013 Athlyn Green